Revisiting the golden era of film noir

SOMERSET’s inventive and always entertaining New Old Friends gives the world premiere of a new comedy thriller at Bath Theatre Royal, from 25th to 28th August, before a nationwide tour. in 2022

Crimes, Camera, Action is a hilarious tribute to classic film noir.  This latest instalment of their ever-popular Crimes… series whisks audiences to golden era Hollywood and introduces Stan Shakespeare, a world-weary, hard-boiled private eye in the mould of Humphrey Bogart.

When a screen starlet is accidentally stabbed on set as a result of an unfortunate mix-up of theatrical props, a typically fast-paced and madcap chain of events is set in motion which sees a cast of four exceptional comic actors take on multiple roles, sometimes within the same scene.

The play is directed by James Farrell (The 39 Steps) and written by Feargus Woods Dunlop, who also stars alongside Kirsty Cox, Heather Westwell and Mark Collier.

Audiences can expect the usual New Old Friends mix of theatrical set pieces, lightning-fast word play and costume changes, and a thrilling plot driving the action at breakneck speed.

Inspired by Agatha Christie, Noël Coward and PG Wodehouse, New Old Friends’ comedy thrillers have so far seen the company create capers in locations as varied as the English Riviera, Siberian railways and the banks of the Nile. Now they’re in Hollywood in the fictional worlds created by writers such as Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.

Feargus Woods Dunlop says: “We couldn’t be happier to be returning to live performance at Theatre Royal Bath, a venue which has supported us from day one. We have always loved film noir and knew we wanted to take the Crimes… series into a slightly new world to give us fresh tropes to play with and new landscapes to create nonsense in. There is a slightly different structure to a Hollywood private eye story than a cosy English crime tale and that has been great fun to explore.”

Founded in 2008, New Old Friends is an award-winning theatre company dedicated to creating original comedy theatre, and run by husband and wife team Feargus Woods Dunlop and Heather Westwell. Last year New Old Friends released the first in a new audio drama series, Comedy Whodunits For Your Ears – Crimes Against Christmas was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. The next audio instalment, Crimes on Centre Court, is being released this summer.

New Old Friends won the Creative Bath Award for Writing in 2017 and 2018. The company’s previous shows include five installments of the hugely popular Crimes… series of comedy thrillers. This December, New Old Friends will return to the Theatre Royal to perform A Christmas Getaway at the Ustinov Studio over the festive season.

Photographs by Pamela Raith Photography